Theory and History of Ontology by Raul Corazzon | e-mail: rc
Frank, Daniel H. 1985. "On What there Is: Plato's Later Thoughts." Elenchos.Rivista di Studi sul Pensiero Antico no. 6:5-18.
Frede, Michael. 1992. "Plato's Sophist on False Statements." In The Cambridge Companion to Plato, edited by Kraut, Richard, 397-424. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
"...I want in what follows to focus on the discussion of false statements. Hence I will, only very briefly, comment on the remarks about being, and, in somewhat more detail, consider the remarks about what it is to be not being, to the extent that this seems necessary to understand Plato's resolution of the difficulty concerning false statements." (p. 399)
"Conclusion. In fact one thing that is striking about the Sophist, in comparison to the earlier dialogues, is its "dogmatic" and systematic character. It sets out carefully constructing a series of puzzles, aporiai. In this respect its first half resembles the early dialogues or even its immediate predecessor, the Theaetetus. But then it turns toward a resolution of these aporiai. In this regard the procedure of the dialogue reminds one of the methodological principle Aristotle sometimes refers to and follows, the principle that on a given subject matter we first of all have to see clearly the aporiai involved before we can proceed to an adequate account of the matter, which proves its adequacy in part by its ability both to account for and to resolve the aporiai (cf. De An. I, 2, 403b2o-21; Met. B1, 995a27 ff.). And the Sophist proceeds to resolve these difficulties in a very systematic and almost technical way. By careful analysis it tries to isolate and to settle an issue definitively. In this regard it does stand out among all of Plato's dialogues. And because of this it also is more readily accessible to interpretation. If, nevertheless, we do have difficulties with this text, it is in good part because in his day Plato was dealing with almost entirely unexplored issues for whose discussion even the most rudimentary concepts were missing. Seen in this light, Plato's solution of the difficulty presented by false statements is a singular achievement." (p. 423)
———. 1996. "The Literary Form of the Sophist." In Form and Argument in Late Plato, edited by Gill, Christopher and McCabe, Mary Margaret, 135-152. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
"If one considers the literary form of the Sophist, one is primarily interested in what is characteristic of, or distinctive about, the literary form of this particular dialogue, as opposed to other Platonic dialogues. But this should not make us overlook the fact that the Sophist, first of all, is a dialogue, and that, in the case of the Sophist, there is something particularly puzzling about this. So I will first consider the question why Plato wrote the Sophist as a dialogue, and then turn to two other literary features of the text.
The puzzle is this. If we look at the early aporetic dialogues, we have a number of readily available explanations why Plato wrote them as dialogues. But, as we proceed to the middle and then the late dialogues, these explanations become less and less plausible. And they seem to be particularly implausible in the case of the Sophist. For the Sophist, in a way, is the most dogmatic of all of Plato's dialogues. And it might seem that Plato could as well have written at least the central part of this dialogue as a treatise on falsehood." (p. 135)
Friedländer, Paul. 1969. Plato. Vol. III: The Dialogues, Second and Third Period. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Second edition, with revisions (First edition 1958) Chapter XXVI: Sophist, pp. 243-279.
Translated from the German Platon: Seinswaheheit und Lebenswirklichkeit, 3 vols. Berlin, Walter de Gruyter, 1954 by Hans Meyerhoff.
Publisher's note: "The first volume of this work, Plato: An Introduction (1958), contains seventeen chapters, each an independent study of an aspect of Plato’s thought, his creative work, and his relation to modern thinkers, and a chapter on Plato as jurist by Huntington Cairns. A new edition is in preparation, with revisions and additional annotation.
The second volume, Plato: The Dialogues, First Period (1964), contains Chapters I-XIX, which interpret the works of Plato’s early creative period, the “ascent.”
The third volume, Plato: The Dialogues, Second and Third Periods, contains Chapters XX-XXXI. These take up the central and late dialogues, the works of Plato’s major creative periods. At the end of this final volume, there is an Afterword, “On the Order of the Dialogues.”
"We know that the task of clarifying the meaning of pseudos— falsehood, deception, and lie—occupied Plato from his beginnings as a philosopher. It did not grow out of a special interest in a difficult logical problem. It occupied him because (to speak in the concrete imagery of the Sophist) both sophistic and eristic hide in this darkness and confusion—everything, in other words, that is hostile to philosophy and that, because of its dangerously similar appearance, jeopardizes the reputation of philosophy and the life of the philosopher. Even one of the earliest of Plato’s works, the Hippias Minor, deals with the problem of deception, involuntary and voluntary, sophistic and Socratic deception. Then, with the Cratylus, language becomes the instrument of positive enlightenment. There (Cratylus 431bc; cf. 385bc) discourse is explained as the “juxtaposition” of noun and verb. In the Sophist, it is the “combination” of the two, and this change is more than a mere difference in expression. In the Cratylus, we are shown that just as the elements of a sentence, the “names,” may be used wrongly, so may the juxtaposition of these elements. The Sophist derives discourse not simply from “naming”; discourse has a new and autonomous structure. As a unique kind of being it has the structure of being itself, characterized by “communion.” In the Cratylus, the “names” have the function of revealing (δήλωμα, 433b et seq.}; in the Sophist, it is the statement that has this function. Hence, the Cratylus seeks to discover falsehood in the elements of language; the Sophist seeks it more deeply, in the structure of language."
Fronterotta, Francesco. 2011. "Some Remarks on the Senses of Being in the Sophist." In Plato's Sophist: Proceedings of the Seventh Symposium Platonicum Pragense, edited by Havlíček, Aleš and Karfík, Filip, 35-62. Praha: Oikoymenh.
Abstract: "In this paper I examine the question of the different senses of the verb "to be" and the notion of "being" in Plato's Sophist, discussing the relevant passages and bibliography."
———. 2013. "Theaetetus sits - Theaetetus flies. Ontology, predication and truth in Plato’s Sophist (263a-d)." In Plato's Sophist Revisited, edited by Bossi, Beatriz and Robinson, Thomas M., 205-223. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
"After solving the problem of “what is not” (259a–b) by elucidating the relations between the γένη that give rise to their reciprocal κοινωνία (259d-e), the next step, before getting back to hunting the sophist, is to clarify whether this also helps disentangle the difficulty connected with the possibility of falsehood in λόγοι, as the examination of what is not was introduced for precisely this purpose: once the logical aporia of falsehood has emerged from the ontological paradox of what is not, solving the latter would also solve the former. So, if what is not, whose form the Stranger has succeeded in identifying, “blends with thinking and discourse” (δοξη και λογω μειγνυται), there will be no contradiction in allowing falsehood in λόγοι, thus making approachable the dark place of images and appearances that are only similar to the truth, where the sophist has taken refuge; but if this were not the case, any λόγος would always have to be considered necessarily true and the inaccessibility of falsehood would make the sophist’s refuge safe from any threat (260d –261b). The section of the dialogue that opens in this way contains some of the fundamental premises of what can fairly be seen as Plato’s philosophy of language (259e –264b)." (p. 205)
Gacea, Alexandru-Ovidiu. 2019. "Plato and the “Internal Dialogue”: An Ancient Answer for a New Model of the Self." In Psychology and Ontology in Plato, edited by Pitteloud, Luca and Keeling, Evan, 33-54. Cham (Switzerland): Springer.
"The theme of the dialogic relationship that the ψυχή entertains with itself appears explicitly in the Theaetetus and the Sophist.(10) Naturally, one could argue that “dialogicity” represents one of Plato’s main concerns throughout the dialogues.
However, I prefer to isolate the way the issue is treated in these two dialogues, because stating explicitly that thought is the “dialogue of the soul with itself” appears to be indicative of a particular Platonic outlook on thought and selfhood. I claim that Plato is subtly moving away from a descriptive perspective, the way thought has always been conceived in Greek culture, toward a prescriptive one, the philosophical appropriation and reinterpretation of this cultural trait. I thus propose not to treat this notion as being self-explanatory." (p. 35, a note omitted)
"In the Sophist, the description is couched in different terms, making the distinctions more explicit and adding some other elements: “Thought (διάνοια) and speech (λόγος), says the Visitor, are the same, except that what we call thought (διάνοια) is dialogue (διάλογος) that occurs without the voice (διάλογος ἄνευ φωνῆς), inside the soul (ἐντὸς τῆς ψυχῆς) in conversation with itself. […] And the stream of sound from the soul that goes through the mouth is called speech (λόγος)” (263e3-8). We find out that dialogic thought and speech are not identical but of the same kind, namely, λόγος. Διάλογος is a type of λόγος but not in the same way uttered speech is λόγος, i.e., doxic λόγος. The dialogue “placed inside the soul” occurs “without sound or voice,” but speech is always uttered, it is something that is “breathed out.”
Not all speech is thought or dialogue, but all thought can become speech when it is accompanied with sound or when it is exteriorized. Furthermore, the λόγος that is exteriorized, “breathed out,” is not the dialogue but its “conclusion,” i.e., the δόξα.
The belief marks the cessation of the conversation, the moment when the soul doesn't doubt anymore." (p. 40)
(10) There is a third passage about the “internal dialogue” in the Philebus (38c-e), but this is more of an example than a description of dialogic thought.
Galligan, Edward M. 1983. "Logos in the Theaetetus and the Sophist." In Essays in Ancient Greek Philosophy: Volume Two, edited by Anthon, John P. and Preus, Anthony, 264-278. Albany: State University of New York Press.
"In this paper I am concerned with the Theaetetus' dreamed theory [(201d-206b)] and its refutation in that dialogue. From the vantage point of the Sophist, I ask (1) whether and how Plato changed the theory's view of logos and (2) whether and how he might have been able to loosen the dilemma that refutes the theory." (p. 265)
"The dreamed theory and the Sophist differ about logos in rather much the way they differ about syllables. Though the Theaetetus contains a distinction of letters into kinds, not much was made of these distinctions. But according to the Sophist, vowels make non-vowels pronounceable. The latter dialogue claims part-part asymmetry for syllables. As for logos, the dreamed theory does not clearly have any part-part asymmetry, whereas the Sophist articulates just such a distinction. On the other hand, concerning the whole-part aspect of logoi, the dreamed theory and the Sophist are closer. According to the dreamed theory, by means of a statement we can express our knowledge of complexes, but what we can only name, elements, we can neither know nor state. According to the Sophist, we can name beings by means of a name or a verb, but in doing so we do not state anything of anything.
The Sophist's view of both statement and syllable seems to be that they are wholes that come to be when their parts are put together and that the wholes have a character that their parts do not have. This suggests that syllables and statements are open to whatever force there is in the second horn of the dilemma brought against the dreamed theory." (p. 270)
Gerson, Lloyd. 1986. "A Distinction in Plato's Sophist." The Modern Schoolman no. 63:251-266.
Reprinted in: Nicholas D. Smith (ed.), Plato: Critical Assessments Vol. IV: Plato's Later Works, London: Routledge 1998, pp. 125-141.
———. 2006. "The 'Holy Solemnity' of Forms and the Platonic Interpretation of Sophist." Ancient Philosophy no. 26:291-304.
"There is a famous passage in Plato's Sophist which serves-as well as any, I believe-to indicate perhaps one of the most fundamental divides among Plato scholars. The division is between those who do and those who do not take seriously the ancient Platonic tradition's interpretations of Plato. The passage is the Eleatic Stranger's response to the claim of the 'Friends of the Forms' that 'real being' (τὴν ὄντως οὐσίαν, 248a11) is immovable."
"The argument leading up to this rhetorical question is this: if knowing is a case of 'acting' (ποιείν) on something, then being known is a case of 'being acted upon' (παρχειν). Since the Friends of the Forms agree that real being is known, they would seem to be forced to admit that the Forms, insofar as they are known, are acted upon. But that which is acted upon is 'in motion' (κινεισθαι). So, the Forms would seem to be in motion insofar as they are acted upon. But the Friends have maintained that Forms are not in motion; on the contrary, they are completely immovable. So, the Friends are faced with an apparent dilemma: either Forms are not known or else their claim that real being is immovable must be abandoned." (p. 291)
"In sum, the Platonic interpretation of Sophist maintains that the Friends of the Forms - both ancient and modern - do not grasp full-blown Platonism. Perhaps Plato himself at one time in his career did not grasp its nature either. Platonism is, among other things, the view that οὐσία must never be supposed to have its own separate reality. It is always and necessarily understood as embedded in the matrix Demiurge-οὐσία-Idea of the Good. From the Platonists' perspective, Aristotle wrongly collapsed or telescoped this matrix into the Prime Unmoved Mover, thereby making it unsuitable to be the absolutely simple first principle of all. The inseparability of ontologically primary thinking and being is a doctrine shared by Plato and Aristotle." (p. 302)
Giannopoulou, Zina. 2001. ""The Sophistry of Noble Lineage" Revisited: Plato's Sophist 226 b1 - 231 b8." Illinois Classical Studies no. 26:101-124.
"This paper deals exclusively with the sixth logos of sophistry, which depicts the sophistic art as "noble" and its practitioner, the sophist, as a teacher with apparently similar educational characteristics as those possessed by Socrates, the greatest enemy of sophistic practices. My aim is to shed some new light on the identity of the "sophist of noble lineage." Some of the methodological questions which will shape my argumentation are the following: is "noble sophistry" a suitable characterization of Socrates' elenctic method? If the answer to this question is positive, then how can one explain the fact that the Socratic method seems to be reflected in otherwise straightforward definitions of the sophists which condemn and repudiate their practices? If, on the other hand, the sixth definition does not intend to present Socrates as a "noble sophist" but simply reveals a more positive aspect of the σοφιστική τέχνη which could be seen as Socratic, what are the distinctive boundaries that clearly separate the elenchos from even the noblest eristic? In order to conduct my examination, I have divided this paper into three parts. In Part I, I attempt a close reading of the method used by the Eleatic Stranger and demonstrate its limitations; it is, I suggest, the nature of these limitations which contributes significantly to the ambiguity of the logos provided in the sixth definition. In Part II, I explore the main methodological tool of the definition, namely the "body and soul" analogy, and assess its impact on the quality of the logos provided. Finally, in Part III, I offer my own interpretation; its novelty lies in the fact that it contextualizes this part of the Sophist in the broader frame of the dialectical quest conducted by the Stranger and attempts to account for its intentional definitional ambiguity." (pp. 101-102)
Gibson, Twyla. 2009. "The Code of Ethics in Medicine: Intertextuality and Meaning in Plato's Sophist and Hippocrates' Oath." In Critical Interventions in the Ethics of Healthcare: Challenging the Principle of Autonomy in Bioethics, edited by Holmes, David and Murray, Stuart J., 183-198. London: Routledge.
"I develop a set of criteria for identifying connections between Hippocrates and Plato by drawing upon media and information theory to adapt the principles devised by researchers working on intertextuality in other ancient Greek collections. Next, I turn to
Plato's Sophist, a dialogue that explains the procedure for distinguishing multiple sequences of classifications that make up the different branches of the definition of art or technique (techne). I delineate the topics in the definition of the Merchant of Learning, and then use this Platonic sequence as a template for comparing the organization of topics and ideas in the Oath. I show that the sequential order of topics in the Oath corresponds point by point to the serial order of the topics in the various classifications of the definition explained in Plato's Sophist. The presence in the Oath of the same sequence described in Plato makes it possible to line up the classifications in the two works and to cross-reference and compare information in corresponding categories. Cross-referencing of topics and ideas allows us to bring information presented in Plato to bear on the interpretation of the Oath. This new information provides the· resources for dealing with issues of interpretation that have gone unresolved due to lack of evidence concerning the meaning and context of words and ideas. The discovery of connections between Plato and Hippocrates adds to our understanding of the meanings communicated in the Oath by linking the Greek medical tradition to the wider context of ancient thought and expression.
This broadened context sheds new light on the foundations of Western medical ethics and provides the evidence and insights needed to reconstruct and reassess the history of our ethical tradition. It is my argument that the expanded horizons of meaning gained though the study of intertextual connections among Hippocratic and Platonic texts and traditions provides a rich resource for reevaluating the history of Western medical ethics, and for defending and critiquing the possibilities entailed by biomedical technologies today." (p. 184)
———. 2010. "The Fisher: Repetition and Sequence in Plato’s Sophist, Statesman, and Ion." The McNeese Review no. 48:84-112.
"In this study, I address the question of a coherent philosophical system in Plato's collected dialogues as well as the problem concerning the meaning and function of Plato's method. Is there evidence of a consistent set of principles in Plato's dialogues that pertain to all the disparate discourses in the collection?
What is the purpose of the method of division and of the sequences of topics and ideas that make up the classifications spelled out by the characters in Plato's Sophist and Statesman? This study proposes new answers to these questions." (pp. 86-87)
"Comparing passages from several important dialogues in light of one definition suggests that the Sophist does offer a technical explanation and demonstration of Plato's method. Tracing the definition of the fisher across three books highlights a number of consistencies that point to the presence of a system, and shows how repetition and sequencing are principles that may be applied to different texts in the collection. Moreover, finding the definition in four works makes it possible to transfer findings from the case studies to Plato's dialogues more generally. Generalizing from the examples to the dialogues as a whole suggests that the "Forms" are the system of rules and conventions that govern the order, shape, and organization of all of Plato's dialogues." (pp. 108-109)
———. 2011. "The Philosopher’s Art: Ring Composition and Classification in Plato’s Sophist and Hipparchus." In Orality and Literacy: Reflections across Disciplines, edited by Carlson, Keith Thor, Fagan, Kristina and Khanenko-Friesen, Natalia, 73-109. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
"With Plato, argued media theorist Marshall McLuhan, the Greeks 'flipped out of the old Homeric world of the bards into this new, rational ... civilized world.'(1) McLuhan and other scholars associated with the foundations of media studies cite Plato's writings as evidence for dating the shift from primary orality to literacy in ancient Greek culture.
Further research has demonstrated that the 'great divide' of orality versus literacy is untenable; traditional oral modes of communication persist alongside and into written texts.
This study re-examines Plato's dialogues in light of recent research concerning ring composition, an oral formulaic technique found in Homer. Comparative analysis of two exemplary dialogues - Plato's Sophist and Hipparchus - shows that these works manifest the ring pattern associated with oral traditional modes of communication. This comparative evidence suggests that the dialogues are transitional compositions, and that Plato's writings represented not a break with the oral tradition but rather its transposition to written texts. I explain the implications of these findings for the interpretation of the history and philosophy communicated in Plato's dialogues, in other ancient oral derived works, and for the study of oral histories and traditions today." (p. 73)
(1) Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews, ed. Stephanie McLuhan and David Staines (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2003), 227.
Gili, Luca. 2017. "Plato, Soph. 216 a3–4." Méthexis no. 29:171-173.
"N.-L. Cordero has persuasively argued that there is no reason to delete ἑταίρων (l. 4) if one were to choose the reading ἔτερον (l. 3), that all manuscripts preserve, instead of ἑταῖρον.(2)" (p. 171)
"My reading turns the reference to the followers of the Eleatics as a piece of Platonic irony – they are philosophers, but definitely not as good as the stranger – Plato’s alter ego? – nor, we can suppose, as their masters Parmenides and Zeno." (p. 173)
(2) Cf. N.-L. Cordero, El Extranjero de Elea, ‘compañero’ de los Parmenídeos…desde 1561, Méthexis xxiii (2013), 51–58. Cordero, however, seems to be unaware of the fact that Y, the earliest source for ἕτερον, does not have a primary status. On this issue see A. D’Acunto, “Su un’edizione platonica di Niceforo Moscopulo e Massimo Planude: il Vindobonensis Phil. Gr. 21 (Y),” Studi classici e orientali 45 (1996), 261–279. Accordingly, Cordero’s intervention, whose rationale I fully endorsed, should not be understood as an emendation ope codicum, but rather as an emendation ope ingenii that at least one Byzantine reader already suggested. The text that Cordero and I defend is not an ancient variant.
Gill, Mary Louise. 2006. "Models in Plato's Sophist and Statesman." Journal of the International Plato Society no. 6:1-9.
"Plato’s Sophist and Statesman use a notion of a model (paradeigma) quite different from the one with which we are familiar from dialogues like the Phaedo, Parmenides, and Timaeus. In those dialogues a paradeigma is a separate Form, an abstract perfect particular, whose nature is exhausted by its own character. Its participants are conceived as likenesses or images of it: they share with the Form the same character, but they also fall short of it because they exemplify not only that character but also its opposite. Mundane beautiful objects are plagued by various sorts of relativity—Helen is beautiful compared to other women, but not beautiful compared to a goddess; she is beautiful in her physical appearance, but not in her soul or her actions; she is beautiful in your eyes, but not in mine, and so on. The Form of the Beautiful, which is supposed to explain her beauty, is simply and unqualifiedly beautiful (Symp. 210e5-211d1).
In the Sophist and Statesman a model involves a mundane example whose definition is relevant to the definition of some more difficult concept under investigation, the target. The steps taken to define the example also reveal a useful procedure to be transferred to the more difficult case. This much should be fairly uncontroversial. In my view it is important to recognize that a paradeigma is not merely an example (or paradigmatic example) of some general concept." (p. 1)
———. 2010. "Division and Definition in Plato's Sophist and Statesman." In Definition in Greek Philosophy, edited by Charles, David, 172-199. New York: Oxford University Press.
"In this paper I will argue that dichotomous division yields a good definition of a target kind only in the simplest and most uncontroversial cases. Plato also uses division in defining more complex kinds, but then it serves as a preliminary strategy, which undertakes to expose some puzzle about the kind under investigation, which the enquirers must resolve in some other way, or at least in conjunction with some other method.
We have trouble catching the sophist, because we find him, not at the end of a single branch, but at many different termini, allowing multiple definitions. We find the statesman at a single terminus, but he has many rivals there, who claim to share his expertise; the definition of the statesman reached by dichotomous division, though very detailed, turns out to be much too general. These disappointing results serve a purpose. Plato wants us to see that something about the sophist explains why he turns up all over the map, and that something about the statesman explains why he has company at the terminus. In each dialogue, reflection on the peculiar outcome of division enables the enquirers to recognize something about the kind in question which helps to explain the peculiarity. The enquirers aim to discover a real definition that applies to all and only instances that fall under a kind, and which specifies its essence -- the feature or complex of features that explains why in the case of the sophist he turns up in too many places, and why in the case of the statesman he is not alone at the terminus." (p. 173)
———. 2012. Philosophos: Plato’s Missing Dialogue. New York: Oxford University Press.
Contents: Introduction 1; 1. Forms in Question 18; 2. A Philosophical Exercise 45; 3. The Contest between Heraclitus and Parmenides 76; 4. Knowledge as Expertise 101; 5. Appearances of the Sophist 138; 6. Refining the Statesman 177; 7. The Philosopher’s Object 202; Works Cited 245; Index Locorum 263; Index of Names 274; General Index 278-290.
"The only thing that does not exist is something indescribable, something with no features at all: nothing—or to use Owen’s colorful phrase, “a subject with all the being knocked out of it and so unidentifiable.”(12) I take it that not-being, so understood, is the focus of the first three puzzles about not-being in the Sophist and of the sixth deduction in the Parmenides, so it could be that Plato restricts non-existence to an unidentifiable non-thing: Plato’s notion of existence need not correspond to our own. Even so, he talks about fictional entities in several dialogues (centaurs and other mythical creatures), and the Sophist itself begins and ends with a discussion of production, defined by the Stranger as bringing into being something that previously was not (219b4–6, 265b8–10).(13) Furthermore, the Battle of the Gods and Giants at the center of the dialogue treats two distinct views about what is real (tangible things or immaterial forms), a dispute that surely concerns actual being or existence (a monadic property), what things have it and what things do not. The items rejected on each side are describable, even as the opponents on the other side (Gods or Giants) deny their being. The Stranger tries to settle the feud with his definition of being as dunamis (the capacity to act on or to be affected by something else). Moreover, this same monadic being—the nature of being (250c6–7)—is the property that becomes mysterious in the Aporia about Being (249d9–250d4) directly following the Battle of the Gods and Giants.14 Plato is clearly interested in monadic being in the Sophist — what things have this feature, and what things, though describable, do not. In Chapter 5 I take the first steps toward an alternative interpretation of being, one indebted to Lesley Brown and Michael Frede, which aims to preserve the virtues of their different proposals without the shortcomings." (p. 176)
(12) Owen (1971: 247).
(13) Cf. E. N. Lee (1972: 300) and Heinaman (1983: 12).
14 Discussed below in Chapter 7 secs. 7.2 and 7.6.
Heinaman, R. 1983. “Being in the Sophist.” Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 65: 1–17.
Lee, E. N. 1972. “Plato on Negation and Not-Being in the Sophist.” Philosophical Review 81: 267–304.
Owen, G. E. L. 1971. “Plato on Not-Being.” In G. Vlastos (ed.), Plato 1: Metaphysics and Epistemology. Garden City: Doubleday. 223–67. Repr. in G. E. L. Owen, 1986. 104–137.
Owen, G. E. L. 1986. Logic, Science and Dialectic. M. C. Nussbaum (ed.). London: Duckworth/Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
———. 2021. "Images of Wisdom in the Prologue of Plato’s Sophist." The Journal of Greco-Roman Studies no. 60:137-152.
Abstract: "This paper examines the prologue of Plato’s Sophist in light of interpretive claims by Proclus, and revived by Myles Burnyeat,[*] that Plato imaged in the opening scene of his dialogues the main philosophical themes of the work.
This paper applies that insight to the prologue of the Sophist and argues that Proclus is right but that the work in which this prologue is embedded is much larger than the dialogue it introduces. A close reading of the Sophist’s prologue reveals it to image, in a literary way, the whole series of dialogues—Theaetetus, Sophist, Statesman, and missing Philosopher—of which the Sophist is a member. At the end of the Sophist, the sophist is identified as imitator of the wise man. The paper explores the sophist in relation to the kinds it imitates, including two sorts of wise men, the philosopher and the statesman, and asks whether there is a wide kind covering all of them, both genuine experts and their benign and dangerous imitators. If there is such a kind, what is its status as a kind? The paper considers a genealogical family, descended from a common ancestor (intelligence or cleverness) with derivative kinds differentiated from one another by their object and their aims, either beneficial or harmful."
[*] Burnyeat, M. F., 1997, “First Words,” Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society 43, 1-20. (reprinted as Chapter 16 in F. M. Burnyeat, Explorations in Ancient and Modern Philosophy, Cambridge: Cambridge Univerist Press 2012, p. 305-326.
Giovannetti, Lorrenzo. 2021. "Between Truth and Meaning. A Novel Interpretation of the Symploke in Plato’s Sophist." Elenchos.Rivista di Studi sul Pensiero Antico no. 42:261-290.
Abstract: "In this paper, I provide an interpretation of the symploke ton eidon at Soph. 259e. My goal is to show that the specific metaphysical view expressed by the interweaving of forms best accounts for Plato’s explanation of truth and falsehood.
In the first section, I introduce the fundamentals of the interpretation of the greatest kinds and their functions. After that, I propose an interpretation of the assertion at 259e, the upshot of which is that the interweaving of forms only deals with extra-linguistic items, that it is related to both truth and meaning of linguistic items, in a very complex way which I aim to explain throughout the paper, and that it never involves sensible particulars. In the second section, I put forward my reading of the Stranger’s description of how logoi are structured and how they work. I pay particular attention to the view that words reveal being when they intertwine to form a statement. In the third section, I interpret the statements concerning Theaetetus. My goal is to advance a new reading of the specific role that kinds and their interweaving play with regard to the truth and falsehood of the statements concerning Theaetetus. The result is the very specific view that the kinds, which are the separated ontological cause of what happens in space and time, are the grounds of both the truth and the meaning of statements."
Gómez-Lobo, Alfonso. 1977. "Plato's Description of Dialectic in the Sophist 253d1-e2." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 22:29-47.
"In the Sophist there is an obscure and much disputed passage (253 d 1-e 2) which professes to say something about what is proper to the science of Dialectic (... μῶν οὐ τῆς διαλεκτικῆς φήσομεν ἐπιστήμης εἶναι ; 253 d 2-3). The communis opinio is that we are offered there a description of the Method of Division. The facts that the passage is introduced by the expression τὸ κατὰ γένη διαιρεῖσθαι , that it appears in a late dialogue and moreover in a dialogue where that method is explicitly practiced (218 b 5-236 c 8 and 264 b 9-268 d 5) seem to be very strong reasons for suspecting that here Plato must have in mind the Diaeretic Method. This conviction seems to be almost unavoidable when one takes the lines as an "ausführliche Definition des Dialektikers" (Stenzel). (2) If it is such an exhaustive definition, how could Division be missing from it? I would like to challenge the generally accepted view and show that another quite different interpretation gives a better sense to the text and solves some problems which otherwise must remain puzzling. Since nearly all recent interpretations depend on Stenzel's, I shall discuss it first (I). Then (II) I shall put forward the main theses of my interpretation and lastly (III) I shall paraphrase the whole text." (p. 29)
"Summary: Soph. 253 d 1-e 2 does not describe Division, it anticipates the comparison Being and Not-Being with other Forms which will ultimately provide Plato's answer to the dilemma of Parmenides." (p. 47)
(2) Julius Stenzel, Studien zur Entwicklung der platonischen Dialektik von Sokrates zu Aristoteles, 2. Auf., Leipzig, 1931 (reprint Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1961), English translation by D. J. Allan, Plato's Method of Dialectic, Oxford, 1940. Quotations or my own translations from the German original will be identified by 'orig.' Quotations from Allan's translation are identified by 'trans.' Occasionally Allan's version is inaccurate; in such cases I have referred to the original German text.
———. 1981. "Dialectic in the Sophist: a reply to Waletzki." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 26:80-83.
Reply to Waletzki (1979).
"In "Platons ldeenlehre und Dialektik im Sophistes 253d" (Phronesis 24 (1979) 241-252) Wolfgang Waletzki has criticized an earlier article of mine on that passage (Phronesis 22 (1977) 29-47). Although I have benefitted from a number of his observations, I am not in a position to accept his interpretation as a whole. Instead of arguing piecemeal against each of his claims, I would here like to embark first on a task which I believe to be more rewarding: the working out of criteria which would have to be satisfied by a correct interpretation of the disputed passage. In the light of these criteria I hope to show that Waletzki's approach is unsatisfactory, thus vitiating his specific claims." (p. 80)
Gonzalez, Francisco J. 1997. "On the Way to Sophia: Heidegger on Plato's Dialectic, Ethics, and Sophist." Research in Phenomenology no. 27:16-60.
"The great lacuna in the Heideggerian Gesamtausgabe has been a detailed interpretation of an entire Platonic dialogue. This situation has changed with the publication of the lecture course on Plato's Sophist ( 1924/25) .(1) This text does not disappoint for lack of thoroughness or scope: Heidegger takes the task of interpreting this major Platonic dialogue so seriously that he devotes over two hundred pages to preparing his interpretation and almost four hundred pages to detailed, almost line by line exegesis of the text, from the dramatic prologue to the explanation of the possibility of falsehood. With this course, therefore, we are finally in a position to assess the extent to which Heidegger succeeded in coming to terms with Plato's thought.
In this paper I argue that, despite some important insights, this attempted "philosophical appropriation of Plato"(2) fails. I also suggest that this failure exposes certain limitations of Heidegger's thought,
specifically with regard to the relation between ethics and ontology." (p. 16)
(1) Platon: Sophistes, vol. 19 of Gesamtausgabe, ed. Ingeborg Schussler am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, hereafter GA 19.
(2) To use Heidegger's own characterization of what Friedrich Schleiermacher failed to achieve: "die philosophische Aneignung Plato" (GA 19: 313). All translations of Heidegger and Plato in this paper are my own.
———. 2000. "The Eleatic Stranger: His Master's Voice? ." In Who Speaks for Plato? Studies in Platonic Anonymity, edited by Press, Gerald A., 161-181. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.
"Interpreters of the Sophist and the Statesman almost universally assume that the Eleatic Stranger speaks for Plato. This is surprising, given how little speaks in favor of this assumption and even how intuitively implausible it is." (p. 161)
"Yet, interpreters are apparently willing to live with some implausibility here because they consider it even more implausible that the Stranger should not speak for Plato. Their argument, insofar as it can be reconstructed, assumes that the only positive assertions made in the two dialogues are the Strangers and that therefore one could, without losing anything essential, eliminate the dialogue form by putting what the Stranger says into the form of a treatise authored by Plato. The aim of the present chapter is to refute this specific assumption and therefore the interpretation that depends on it. Socrates does speak in both dialogues, and what he says is of extraordinary importance; furthermore, a major, perhaps the major event of Socrates' life, namely, his trial, forms the dramatic context. These words and deeds of Socrates are not peripheral curiosities added to relieve the tedium of an otherwise highly abstract discussion. Instead, as I will show, what Socrates says and who he is, even his silence in the dialogue, expose serious problems in what the Stranger says. If Plato in this way uses Socrates against the Stranger, the assumption that the Stranger speaks for Plato, already implausible on the surface, is rendered untenable. On the other hand, we are not thereby required to conclude that Plato rejects everything the Stranger says and chooses Socrates instead as his mouthpiece. What we have here, as elsewhere, is not a disguised author expounding doctrines in a disguised treatise, but rather a drama in which two opposed and limited perspectives confront each other and in that confrontation leave us with a problem." (pp. 161-162, notes omitted)
———. 2003. "Confronting Heidegger on Logos and Being in Plato's Sophist." In Platon und Aristoteles - sub ratione veritatis. Festschrift für Wolfgang Wieland zum 70. Geburstag, edited by Damschen, Gregor, Enskat, Rainer and Vigo, Alejandro G., 102-133. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
"In his WS 1924-25 lecture course on Plato's Sophist, Heidegger charges that, because in this dialogue the method of separation and division is applied not only to objects in the world, such as the angler, but also to Being itself and its structures, Plato recognized no distinction between the way of dealing with beings (Behandlungsart des Seienden) and the way of dealing with Being (Behandlungsart des Seins). What underlies this charge is Heidegger's conviction, which he seeks to support in the present course, that to address Being by way of λόγος and its structure, which is what the method of διαίρεσις does, is inevitably to collapse the distinction between Being and beings. Heidegger further suggests that Plato's Ideas or Forms are a product of this approach to Being and the confusion it produces (287). The goal of this paper is to defend Plato against this charge by arguing the following: 1) Plato fully recognizes both the ontological difference itself and the inability of λόγος, and any λόγος-centered approach, to preserve and do justice to this difference; 2) Plato's response to this "weakness" of λόγος is, in the Sophist, to distance himself from the λόγος of Being (and non-being) presented there by means of various strategies, most generally the dialogue
form itself; 3) though the εἰδη are unavoidably objectified in discourse, Plato did not understand the εἰδη as objectively present things: indeed, it was precisely in order to avoid objectifying the εἰδη that Plato refrained from offering a "theory of Forms"; 4) Heidegger's attempt to reduce the dialogue's characterization of Being as δύναμις to a characterization of Being as presence is unacceptable; 5) despite Heidegger's insistence to the contrary, even the account of Being as δύναμις is presented in the dialogue not as final, but as aporetic and necessarily so. In pursuing this goal it is neither my intention nor even possible in the present context to give a detailed, step-by-step exposition of Heidegger's course, much less of the Sophist itself. Instead. I will assume some acquaintance with both in focusing on only those moments where Heidegger explicitly sets himself apart from Plato, with the aim of encouraging us to set ourselves apart from Heidegger's reading of Plato." (pp. 102-103, notes omitted)
———. 2011. "Being as Power in Plato's Sophist and Beyond." In Plato's Sophist: Proceedings of the Seventh Symposium Platonicum Pragense, edited by Havlíček, Aleš and Karfík, Filip, 63-95. Praha: Oikoymenh.
"In the literature on Plato's metaphysics one finds much discussion of what kinds of beings exist for Plato, what makes one class of beings 'more real' than another, what relation exists between these different levels of beings, and what ultimate principles or causes can be invoked to explain the nature of these beings. What is much harder to find is reflection on what this word 'being' actually means for Plato. If both sensible objects and the Forms can be said to be, if the latter must nevertheless be said to be more truly, or 'more beingly', than the former, then what exactly is meant by this word 'be'? If this fundamental question has been neglected in the literature, the reason is not that Plato fails to address it In the Sophist this question is not only addressed, but given an answer. Since the passage in question (247d8-e4) is the only place in the Platonic corpus where this question is directly raised and answered - and this in a context that stresses the great importance and indispensability of the question - one would expect it to be the subject of a voluminous literature. Strangely, the exact opposite is the case. Not only the literature on Plato's ontology, but even the literature devoted specifically to the Sophist, displays little interest in the definition of being this dialogue offers. Those scholars who have discussed the definition at all have tended to dismiss it as purely provisional, ad hominem, and in the end unPlatonic. Other scholars, particularly in more recent works on the Sophist, quickly pass over the definition with little or no comment.' What explains this neglect? The first set of scholars presumably have interpretative grounds for denying that the definition is Plato's, but many devote little effort to making this case and all fail to suggest what might be a better definition in Plato's eyes.
The second set of scholars, in simply passing over the definition with no comment, perhaps have deeper philosophical reasons for just not being interested in the question, though these reasons are left unarticulated.
Ironically, many scholars writing on the Sophist today are in this way like those tellers of muthoi or those figures of muthos (the Giants and Gods) which the Eleatic Visitor criticizes for only talking about the number and kinds of beings without addressing the more fundamental question of what it means for any of these things to be.
My object in the present paper is to go against this trend by showing that the definition of being, far from being merely provisional and negligible, is absolutely indispensable not only to the argument of the Sophist, but to a proper understanding of Plato's metaphysics in both this and other dialogues. Specifically I wish to show that the characterization of being as "nothing other than dunamis" is incompatible with attributing to Plato a conception of the "really real" as static and immutable." (pp. 63-65, notes omitted)
Gooch, Paul W. 1971. ""Vice is ignorance": The interpretation of Sophist 226a-231b." Phoenix no. 25:124-133.
"It is often held by Plato's commentators that the famous Socratic paradox "Virtue is Knowledge" has as its complement the doctrine that vice is ignorance. While Plato's readers never find such an aphorism as "Vice is Ignorance" stated categorically in the texts, it is interpreted to mean that in Plato's view moral evil is the result of ignorance. And from this it is an easy step to the "intellectualist" Plato, who thought that knowledge of the right thing to do was a sufficient condition of virtue." (p. 124, notes omitted)
"My own reading of this section [Sophist 226a-231b] is that Plato, not popular opinion, is responsible for the division of evils into two branches, and that the division therefore cannot be considered unimportant for his ethics. Yet I cannot feel as sure as Dodds that the classification places ignorance and vice into two watertight compartments; there are indications that at least one kind of ignorance is a vice, and that its treatment cannot leave the irrational parts of the soul untouched. This in turn means that while Hackforth is probably right to say that Plato's real belief was that wrongdoing always involves ignorance, I hope to provide some evidence that this belief is not as obscured by the Sophist passage as Hackforth seems to think. With these claims in mind we may now turn to an analysis of the passage. After purification has been introduced as a negative art whose function is to throw out the evil and undesirable, the discussion develops various divisions within the art until the following schema becomes evident." (p. 126)
E. R. Dodds says that Plato "no longer makes ignorance the sole cause of wrongdoing, or increased knowledge its sole cure" ("Plato and the Irrational," Journal of Hellenic Studies 65  18).
R. Hackforth claims that for Plato all moral evil involves ignorance ("Moral Evil and Ignorance in Plato's Ethics," Classical Quarterly 40  118.
Grams, Laura W. 2012. "The Eleatic Visitor’s Method of Division." Apeiron no. 45:130-156.
"The method of division (diairesis) employed by the Visitor from Elea in Plato’s Sophist and Statesman is often interpreted as a hierarchical classification, in which each cut divides a kind (genos) into smaller parts that are fully contained within it and each subsequent kind entails all of the previous kinds in the sequence. On this view, division begins with one large class and continues separating it into successively smaller portions, until no further cuts can be made and an infima species is reached. I argue that a strictly hierarchical interpretation of diairesis cannot adequately explain the Visitor’s method for several reasons. First, division often produces kinds that are neither determined by nor fully contained within the intension or extension of the previous kinds, and division occasionally separates pairs of kinds that overlap in scope. In addition, division does not always move from general to more particular kinds, so the order in which a series of divisions is made often has no effect on the outcome. The same kinds may be divided in different ways in different contexts, which means that multiple paths may lead from a given starting point to the destination." (p. 130, note omitted)
Granieri, Roberto. 2019. "Xenocrates and the Two-Category Scheme." Apeiron:1-25.
Abstract: "Simplicius reports that Xenocrates and Andronicus reproached Aristotle for positing an excessive number of categories, which can conveniently be reduced to two: τὰ καθ᾽αὑτά and τὰ πρός τι. Simplicius, followed by several modern commentators, interprets this move as being equivalent to a division into substance and accidents. I aim to show that, as far as Xenocrates is concerned, this interpretation is untenable and that the substance-accidents contrast cannot be equivalent to Xenocrates’ per se-relative one. Rather, Xenocrates aimed to stress the primacy of Plato’s binary distinction of beings, as presented at Sophist 255c13–4, over Aristotle’s list of the categories."
Greenstine, Abraham Jacob. 2019. "Accounting for Images in the Sophist." In Plato and the Moving Image, edited by Biderman, Shai and Weinman, Michael, 19-36. Leiden - Boston: Brill Rodopi.
Abstract: "Plato’s Sophist is a critical dialogue for the question of images, for here the interlocutors divide images into two kinds – likenesses and apparitions – in their hunt for an account of sophistry. Yet much of the recent scholarship on the Sophist does not make much of this division. This chapter defends the continuing significance of the distinction between likeness and apparition. It argues for its importance in Plato’s analysis of images, in his theory of accounts, and in his endeavor to differentiate philosophy from sophistry. It further contends that one can only distinguish likenesses from apparitions by establishing a correct perspective on both the image and the original. Thus, the Sophist exhorts us differentiate likenesses from apparitions, even as we struggle to consistently find the right perspective for this task. Living in the cinematic age only intensifies the need to distinguish likeness from apparition. Over the course of this chapter, we consider two films that advance our questions about perspectives, images, and falsity: Carol Reed’s The Third Man (1949) and Orson Welles’ F for Fake (1974). Like the Sophist, both films reveal a world of apparitions, where names are confused, lies are constant, and the truth is elusive."
Griswold, Charles. 1977. "Logic and Metaphysics in Plato's Sophist." Giornale di Metafisica no. 6:555-570.
Abstract: "In part one of this essay I defend the thesis that the "greatest genera" of the "Sophist" are not the metaphysical ideas of the earlier dialogues, and that the "participation" of these genera in each other is to be understood from a linguistic or logical, rather than metaphysical, perspective. The genera are like concepts, not essences. In part two I argue that the Stranger's doctrine of the genera means that they cannot be unified, self-predicative, separable, and stable; the doctrine deteriorates for reasons internal to itself. I suggest throughout that the Stranger's philosophical orientation is more "subjectivistic" than that of (Plato's) Socrates; unlike the ideas, the genera are subject to the soul's intellectual motion and productive capacity. finally, I suggest that there is no convincing reason for holding that the Stranger's views are superior to those of Socrates."
Grönroos, Gösta. 2013. "Two Kinds of Belief in Plato." Journal of The History of Philosophy no. 51:1-19.
"In the Sophist (263e10–264b4), Plato distinguishes between two kinds of belief.
On the one hand, there is a kind of belief that occurs “according to thinking” (κατὰ διάνοιαν), being “the completion of thinking” (διανοίας ἀποτελεύτησις). This kind is called ‘doxa.’ On the other hand, there is another kind of belief that occurs “through sense perception” (δι αἰσθήσεως). This kind is called 'phantasia,’ perhaps best rendered as “appearing.” The purpose of this paper is to uncover the distinction between these two different kinds of belief." (p. 1)
"The failure to recognize this distinction between two kinds of belief in Plato, despite the enormous scholarly effort devoted to the Theaetetus and the Sophist, is probably due to the fact that we do not operate with such a distinction any longer.
We may admit that beliefs are more or less justified, but this observation suggests that beliefs differ in degree (of justification), rather than in kind. Moreover, if we embrace the view that the formation of any belief requires the possession of concepts and the capacity for propositional thought, and that these capacities are the hallmarks of thinking and rationality at large, then it is difficult to escape the conclusion that even a phantasia is formed through thinking, and that it is a disposition of reason in precisely that sense. But attributing such an anachronistic starting point to Plato overshadows a more specific notion of thinking, and a different way of accounting for the role of thinking in belief formation. As Plato’s unfolding of the disguise of the sophist shows, this kind of thinking, giving rise to a qualified kind of belief, may well be worth serious consideration." (p. 18)
Gulley, Norman. 1962. Plato's Theory of Knowledge. London: Metheuen & Co.
Chapter III: Knowledge and Belief; § 4: The Sophist's Account of Statement and Belief, pp. 148-168.
Guthrie, William Keith Chambers. 1978. A History of Greek Philosophy V: The later Plato and the Academy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
On the Sophist: Chapter II, 3, pp. 122-163.
Hackforth, Reginald. 1945. "False Statement in Plato's Sophist." The Classical Quarterly no. 39:56-58.
"Plato's examination of False Statement (Sophist 259 D-263 D) is, like many of his discussions in the later dialogues, a mixture of complete lucidity with extreme obscurity. Any English student who seeks to understand it will of course turn first to Professor Cornford's translation and commentary(1); and if he next reads what M. Diès has to say in the Introduction to his Budé edition of the Sophist he will, I think, have sufficient acquaintance with the views of modern Platonic scholars on the subject. For myself, at least, I have not gained any further understanding from other writers than these two." (p. 56)
(1) Plato's Theory of Knowledge, pp. 298-317.
Hamlyn, David W. 1955. "The Communion of Forms and the Development of Plato's Logic." The Philosophical Quarterly no. 5:289-302.
"The impression given by many accounts of Plato's philosophy is that the doctrine of the communion of forms (or kinds) which is introduced in the Sophist is new and revolutionary. It may well be true that the use to which Plato puts this doctrine is revolutionary, but there are unmistakable hints of it much earlier. In the Republic 476a we are told of the communion of forms with actions, bodies, and one another, and, as Ross points out,(1) the doctrine is implicit in the account of the theory of forms given in the Phaedo 102b ff., in the sense that we are told that certain forms exclude each other." (p. 289)
"The doctrine of the communion of forms is an attempt to do two things at once - to characterise predicates as names referring to a kind of particular, and also to relate such names to those occurring as the subjects of assertions by means other than that of identity and difference. Consequently the assertion that Plato looked on proper names as disguised descriptions should be qualified by saying that for him descriptions were only another kind of name-names of forms rather than names of sensible particulars. Hence the doctrine of ' communion ' is still vitiated by the fault from which Plato was trying to free himself. That it was an important advance nevertheless is clear." (p. 302)
Harte, Verity. 2002. Plato on Parts and Wholes: The Metaphysics of Structure. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Contents: 1. The Problem of Composition 1; 2. Composition as Identity in the Parmenides and the Sophist 48; 3. A New Model of Composition 117; 4. Composition and Structure 158; 5. Plato's Metaphysics of Structure 267; References 293; General Index 300; Index of Names 300; Index Locorum 304-311.
"In my view—a view for which the book as a whole constitutes a defence—Plato's discussions of part and whole in the works I shall consider may be divided into two distinct groups: those in which Plato explores a model of composition which he does not endorse; and those which work towards building an alternative to the rejected model. This book is organized around discussion of these two groups. §1.6 to Chapter 2 examine the discussions of the first group, Chapters 3 and 4 those of the second.
The division between these two groups does not coincide with the division between different works. To the first group—those which focus on the model which Plato does not endorse—belong passages of the Parmenides, the Theaetetus, and a passage of the Sophist. To the second group—those which develop an alternative to the rejected model—belong other passages of the Parmenides and of the Sophist, and passages of the Philebus and Timaeus. The Parmenides as a whole enacts the contrast between the two groups and provides an illustration of the framework I propose for understanding their relation. Over the course of the Parmenides arguments involving the rejected model of composition are used to expose the problems that arise from its adoption; problems to which the alternative model of composition is framed as a solution." (pp. 2-3)
Havlíček, Aleš, and Karfík, Filip, eds. 2011. Plato's Sophist: Proceedings of the Seventh Symposium Platonicum Pragense. Praha: Oikoymenh.
Contents: Preface 7; Thomas Alexander Szlezák: Die Aufgabe des Gastes aus Elea Zur Bedeutung der Eingangsszene des Sophistes (216a–218a) 11; Francesco Fronterotta: Some Remarks on the Senses of Being in the Sophist 35; Francisco J. Gonzalez: Being as Power in Plato’s Sophist and Beyond 63; Walter Mesch, Die Bewegung des Seienden in Platons Sophistes 96; Filip Karfík: Pantelôs on and megista genê (Plato, Soph. 242C–259b) 120; Noburo Notomi: Dialectic as Ars Combinatoria: Plato’s Notion of Philosophy in the Sophist 146; Luc Brisson: Does Dialectic always Deal with the Intelligible? A Reading of the Sophist (253d5–e1) 156; Aleš Havlíček: Die Aufgabe der Dialektik für die Auslegung des Seins des Nichtseienden 173; Nestor-Luis Cordero: Une conséquence inattendue de l’assimilation du non-être à « l’Autre » dans le Sophiste 188; Denis O’Brien, The Stranger’s “Farewell” (258e6–259a1) 199; Štěpán Špinka: Das Sein des Nicht-Seins. Einige Thesen zur strukturellen Ontologie im Dialog Sophistes 221; Christoph Ziermann: La négativité de l’être chez Platon 240; David Ambuel: The Coy Eristic: Defining the Image that Defines the Sophist 278; Francisco Lisi: Ποιητικη τέχνη in Platons Sophistes 311; Jakub Jinek: Die Verschiedenheit der Menschentypen in Platons Sophistes 328; T. D. J. Chappell: Making Sense of the Sophist: Ten Answers to Ten Questions 344; Index locorum 377.
Heidegger, Martin. 1997. Plato's Sophist. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Heidegger's lecture course at the University of Marburg in the Winter Semester of 1924-25.
Translated by Richard Rojcewicz and André Schuwer.
Original German edition: Platon, Sophistes, Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1992, edited by Ingeborg Schüssler (Gesamtausgabe, II, 19).
Heinaman, Robert E. 1981. "Being in the Sophist." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie no. 65:1-17.
"There is an influential view, developed during the last fifteen years, concerning the relationship between the concept of existence and the notion of Being in Plato's Sophist. (a)
Three distinguishable claims are involved in this account:
(1) Plato does not wish to isolate the existential use of 'to be' from its other uses.
(2) Plato's discussion of being concerns syntactically incomplete uses of 'to be,' not syntactically complete uses of the verb. (b)
(3) The concept of existence plays no role in the philosophical problems discussed or their solutions. Plato operates with a "scheme of concepts which lacks or ignores an expression for 'exist.' (c)
I have no quarrel with (1). But (1) must be clearly distinguished from (3) since Plato may have failed to mark out the existential use of 'to be' while nevertheless using the word to mean existence with this latter concept playing an important role in the argument. In this paper I will try to show that there are no good reasons to accept (2) or (3). Although I shall deal with points raised by John Malcolm and Michael Frede, the focus will be on Professor Owen's paper. The first section will argue that Owen's interpretation of the Sophist is untenable and the second section will show that his arguments for (2) and (3) are unsuccessful. Finally, the third section explains how the position I defend is compatible with Plato's employment of negative existentials.
The position I defend is that the concept of existence does not monopolize but is part of the notion of Being in the Sophist." (pp. 1-2)
(a) G. E. L. Owen, "Plato on Not-Being," in G. Vlastos (ed.) Plato I (New York, 1971), pp. 223-67; Michael Frede, Prädikation und Existenzaussage (Göttingen, 1967); J. Malcolm, "Plato's Analysis of tò ón and tò me ón in the Sophist," Phronesis (1967), pp. 130-46. Also cf. W. Bondeson, "Some Problems about Being and Predication in the Sophist," Journal of the History of Philosophy (1976), p.7, n. 15; A. P. D. Mourelatos, " 'Nothing' as 'Not-Being'," in G. Bowersock, W. Burkert, M. Putnam (eds.) Arktouros (New York, 1979), pp. 319-29.
(b) Owen, pp. 225, 236, 240-41. Frede makes the still stronger claim that every use of 'to be' in the Sophist is incomplete (Frede, pp. 37, 40, 51). I discuss Frede's interpretation in an appendix.
(c) Owen, p. 263.
———. 1981. "Self-Predication in the Sophist." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 26:55-66.
"A major problem in the interpretation of Plato's metaphysics is the question of whether he abandoned self-predication as a result of the Third Man Argument in the Parmenides. In this paper I will argue that the answer to this question must be 'no' because the self-predication assumption is still present in the Sophist.(1)" (p. 55)
"It has often been said that 250c confuses identity and predication. But since 255 establishes Plato's commitment to self-predication, it is preferable to see the mistake as occurring a few lines later (250c 12-d3) where the Stranger concludes that, since Being does not rest or move according to its own nature, it does not rest or move at all (cf. Parm. 139c6-d1). It is plausible to suppose that Plato believes that this error is corrected by the doctrine of the communion of Forms (cf. 252b8-10, 255e4-6, 258b9-c3)." (p. 63)
(1) The claim that the Sophist is committed to self-predication has been made before. W. F. Hicken, "Knowledge and Forms in Plato's 'Theaetetus'," in R. E. Allen (ed.) Studies in Plato's Metaphysics (London, 1965), p. 192; R. S. Bluck, "False Statement in the Sophist, " Journal of Hellenic Studies (1957), p. 186, n. 2; G. Striker, Peras und Apeiron (Gottingen, 1970), p. 37; W. K. C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy V (Cambridge, 1978), p. 43, n. 1. Cf. W. G. Runciman, Plato's Later Epistemology (Cambridge. 1962), pp. 80,95, 102; R. Marten, Der Logos der Dialektik (Berlin, 1965), p. 214, n. 134.
———. 1983. "Communion of Forms." Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society no. 83:175-190.
"At Sophist 259e5-6 Plato says: 'Logos exists for us on account of the interweaving of Forms'. It appears to be an important claim, and various suggestions have been made as to why Plato believed logos depends on the communion of Forms. It has often been thought that the communion of Forms referred to in 259e5-6 lays down conditions for meaning, not truth. Thus, in a well known paper Professor Ackrill has suggested that the communion of Forms covers relations of compatibility, incompatibility, and presumably other relations which determine the meaning of words. (1) I believe that such an interpretation is too optimistic and that Plato's view is less sophisticated than scholars would like to admit. I will argue that the communion of Forms does not provide an explanation of meaning but of an entity's being characterized by a property. It is simply the relation of participation which in earlier dialogues related individuals to Forms. (But I make no claims about resemblance.)
259e5-6 occurs in a context (259d9-260a3) where the Eleatic Stranger refers back to an earlier argument for the conclusion that some Forms combine and some do not (25 1d5-252e8). And that earlier passage had been followed by a discussion where five 'Great Kinds' had been distinguished (254d4-255e1) and some relations of communion had been pointed out (255e8-257a12; cf. 254c4-5). If we want to determine what Plato means by 'communion of Forms' we must examine 251d-252e where Plato presents his arguments in support of the claim that some Forms combine and some do not.
One preliminary problem is the question of how to translate 'logos' in the statement that logos has come to be on account of the communion of Forms. The answer is provided by the context. 'Logos' also occurs in 260a5 and 260a7 where it possesses the same sense as 'logos' in 259e6. 260a7 says that we must determine what logos is, and when the explanation of logos is finally given (261d-262e) an explanation of statements is provided. So 259e5-6 is saying that statements exist because of the communion of Forms." (pp. 175-176)
(1) J. L. Ackrill, 'XYMJI-AOKHE IAQN', in G. Viastos (ed.) Plato I (New York, 1971), pp. 201-9. Also cf. his 'In Defense of Platonic Division', in 0. Wood and G. Pitcher (eds.) Ryle (London, 1971), pp. 376, 391-92.
———. 1986. "Once More: Being in the Sophist." Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie no. 68:121-125.
"According to what I will call the 'new' interpretation, the meaning of 'being' which plays an important role in the philosophical argument of the Sophist is not 'existence' but 'being such and such,' what is expressed by syntactically incomplete uses of 'to be. (a) In an earlier paper I claimed, to the contrary, that 'being' is used to mean existence in the Sophist's argument, although its meaning corresponds to the other uses of the verb as well. (b) Against the new interpretation I argued as follows:
(1) The aporiai of 237-41 are solved in 251-59 by rejecting 237-41's assumption that 'not-being' means 'contrary to being' and claiming that 'not-being' instead means 'different from being.'
(2) On the new interpretation, 'the contrary of being' means 'what is (predicatively) nothing.'
(3) The aporia of 240c-241b cannot be given a coherent interpretation if 'not-being', as there used, is understood to mean 'what is (predicatively) nothing.'
(4) Hence the meaning of 'not-being' required by the new interpretation is unacceptable, and the new interpretation should be rejected.
In a recent note John Malcolm has replied to this argument and raised some other objections to my paper. (c) Here, I will limit myself to explaining why Malcolm's objections have no force, and why his reply to my argument. simply exchanges one absurdity for others." (p. 121)
(a) Its main proponents are G. E. L. Owen, "Plato on Not-Being," in G. Vlastos (ed.) Plato I (New York, 1971), pp. 223-67); Michael Frede, Prädikation und Existenzaussage (Göttingen, 1967); J. Malcolm, "Plato's Analysis of tò on and tò mé on in the Sophist," Phronesis (1967), pp. 130-46.
(b) "Being in the Sophist," Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie (1983), pp. 1-17.
(c) "Remarks on an Incomplete Rendering of Being in the Sophist," Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie (1985), pp. 162-65. Ensuing references to Malcolm will be to this paper.
Hermann, Arnold. 2011. "Parricide or Heir? Plato’s Uncertain Relationship to Parmenides." In Parmenides, 'Venerable and Awesome' (Plato, Theaetetus 183e), edited by Cordero, Néstor-Luis, 147-165. Las Vegas: Parmenides Publishing.
Summary: "Most scholars view Plato’s critique of Parmenides in the Sophist, particularly the observations surrounding the “parricide” remark, as quite apt and justified. The theory is that Parmenides deserves to be rebuked for failing to recognize that “What Is Not” can be understood in more ways than one, namely, not only in an existential sense, but also predicatively or, in the language of the Sophist, as indicating “difference.” I aim to show, nevertheless, that Plato’s indictment of Parmenides misses the mark in significant ways, allowing Parmenides to escape the so-called threat of parricide not once but twice.
For example, Parmenides' abundant use of alpha-privatives (e.g., ἀγένητον)—as well as the negative οὐ (or οὐκ) when there is no a-privative form available—indicates that he was well aware of the difference between indicating “is not” predicatively versus existentially. Moreover, the Poem nowhere suggests that his strictures regarding the use of What Is Not are to be taken in the broadest possible sense, disallowing, in effect, the discrimination between the existential and the predicative case. Only when sought after as a “way of inquiry” does What Is Not—in contrast to the Way of What Is—fail to provide us with a graspable, expressible object. After all, the “Way of What Is Not,” lacks any sort of sēmata, or signs, that can be used to navigate it. As a “way of inquiry for thinking” (B2), it leads nowhere, lacking any sort of expressible or knowable object or goal. The complete absence of an object or result, however, does not hinder us from making statements to this effect, nor from uttering the words “What Is Not” or “Not Being.” Yet this fine distinction is lost to many who have criticized Parmenides for being inconsistent, careless, or simply ignorant. The move from the intellectual unavailability of an object that marks a defunct way of inquiry, to the claim that to even speak of such a “way” is both illegitimate and impossible—all the while insisting that Parmenides himself is to be blamed for such a monstrous fallacy—seems an egregious gloss-over, even if the perpetrator is someone of Plato’s stature. If my arguments prove sound, then Parmenides should be absolved of the charges leveled against him."
Hermann, Fritz Gregor. 1998. "On Plato's 'Sophist' 226b-231b " Hermes no. 126:109-117.
"The sixth attempt to show what it is to be a sophist (226 b-231 b) marks a fresh starting point in the discussion by Theodorus' guest-friend from Elea and Theodorus' young pupil Theaetetus. The first five attempts were closely modelled on the exemplary search for the angler (218 e-221 c), and started from the division, διαίρεσις, of all the arts and crafts into acquisitive, κτητική, and productive, ποιητική. Unlike the previous sections whose divisions were arrived at by abstract consideration, the passage commencing at 226 b starts with the enumeration of concrete examples of household activities. Adduced by the Elean, they serve as illustrations of the art of separation, διακριτική (1)." (p. 109)
(1) Cf. e.g. F.M. Cornford, Plato's Theory of Knowledge, London 1935, p. 177f
Hestir, Blake E. 2003. "A "Conception" of Truth in Plato's Sophist." Journal of The History of Philosophy no. 41:1-24.
" Plato's solution to the problem of falsehood carries a notorious reputation which sometimes overshadows a variety of interesting developments in Plato's philosophy. One of the less-noted developments in the Sophist is a nascent conception of truth which casts truth as a particular relation between language and the world. Cornford and others take Plato's account of truth to involve something like correspondence; some find the origin of Aristotle's "correspondence" account of truth in Plato's Sophist. But all this assumes a lot about Plato, much less Aristotle. For one, it assumes that to claim that the statement 'Theaetetus is sitting' is true is to claim that it is true because it corresponds with the fact that Theaetetus is sitting. Other scholars have been reluctant to accept Cornford's view, but few offer any explanation of what sort of account of truth we might ascribe to Plato by the end of the Sophist. Tarski has argued that truth is a simpler notion than that of correspondence. In fact, he claims his own "conception" of truth is similar to the classical conception we find in Aristotle's Metaphysics -- a conception of truth formulated in Greek in much the same way Plato formulates it in the Sophist. Unfortunately, Tarski never sufficiently explains what it is about the classical conception that makes it closer to his own. I argue that Tarski is generally right about the ancient conception of truth, but this is not to claim that Tarski's own conception is in Plato. By interpreting Plato's solution to the paradox of not-being and his solution to the problem of falsehood, I argue that Plato's account of truth implies a simpler notion of truth than correspondence. I outline various types of correspondence theory and show that none of these fits what Plato says about truth, syntax, and meaning in the Sophist." (pp. 1-2)
———. 2016. Plato on the Metaphysical Foundation of Meaning and Truth. Cambridge: Cambridge Unviersity Press.
Contents: Acknowledgments page IX; Note on the text XII; List of abbreviations XIII; 1 Introduction 1; Part I Stability 17; 2 Strong Platonism, restricted Platonism, and stability 19; 3 Concerns about stability in the Cratylus 39; 4 Flux and language in the Theaetetus 57; 5 The foundation exposed: Parmenides 135bc 84; Part II Combination 105; 6 Being as capacity and combination: a challenge for the Friends of the Forms 107; 7 The problem of predication: the challenge of the Late-Learners 144; Part III Truth 181; 8 Predication, meaning, and truth in the Sophist 183; 9 Plato’s conception of truth 209; 10 Truth as being and a substantive property 234; Bibliography 243; Index locorum 259; General index 265.
"My project is motivated by my interest in understanding the following two passages from Plato’s Sophist. In the first passage, the so-called Stranger from Elea presents Theaetetus with an account of true and false statement.
In the second, he relates that account to thought and judgment, although my project concerns only that aspect of it that is an extension of the first.(2) He describes thought as “discourse without voice” (dialogos aneu phônês) and judgment as the end result of thought. Statement and judgment involve doing something with words and thoughts, respectively, namely asserting or denying, and assertions and denials are either true or false:
I [Sophist (263b4–12)]
II [Sophist (263e3–264b4)]
"Together these passages stand as what I consider to be the quintessential expression of Plato’s account of truth and falsehood, yet they do not by themselves constitute a complete account of his conception of truth. I am interested in that conception and its relation to Plato’s semantics and metaphysics.
This project aims to fill several gaps in the current scholarship on ancient Greek conceptions of truth, meaning, and language. What is missing is a detailed investigation into how the development of Plato’s understanding of the metaphysical foundation of meaning plays an integral role in his conception of truth in the Sophist. The two aforementioned passages follow on the heels of a discussion of language and signification that emerges, I argue, from a systematic approach to semantics that Plato commences in the Cratylus and continues through the Parmenides and Theaetetus, each of which is commonly taken to precede the Sophist. The Sophist supplies something of an explanation of how being grounds meaning and truth. However, more needs to be said about the mechanism of being, its relation to meaning and truth, the relation between the latter two, and what sort of conception of truth emerges from all this. It is also the case that more could be said about how this conception of truth complements the account of truth as being in “middle-period” dialogues such as the Phaedo and Republic. Moreover, there has not been a detailed treatment of the striking parallels between Plato’s and Aristotle’s conceptions of meaning and truth. This book contributes to the developing scholarship in these areas. (pp. 2-3)
(2) So, for example, I will not be discussing Plato’s account of concept acquisition and cognition.
Hopkins, Burt C. 2013. "The Génos of Lógos and the Investigation of the Greatest Genê in Plato’s Sophist." The New Yearbook for Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy no. 13:353-362.
Abstract: "It is argued that once the negative criterion for distinguishing eikones from phantasmata in lógos about the originals in the intelligible realm appears in the Sophist, the Stranger’s claim in the final divisions that “we now indisputably count off the kind of image-making as two” (266e), i.e., likeness making and semblance making, becomes problematical.
Specifically, what becomes a problem is whether the distinction in question is a mathesis (learning matter) and therefore something capable of becoming epistême. Consequent this, it is also argued that the eidetic-arithmoí that appear in the dialectical investigation of the greatest kinds rule out precisely the power of lógos to make the kind of clean cut the Stranger proposes regarding the sophist and philosopher belonging to different gene, given the incomparable nature of the gené and eidê being divided."
Horan, David. 2019. "Plato’s Parmenides in Plato’s Sophist." Etudes platoniciennes no. 15:1-23.
Abstract: "I wish to argue in this article that Plato, in considering the position of the monists in the Sophist, relies heavily upon arguments carried forward from the Parmenides. Accordingly, I argue, he invokes, in turn, three understandings of what one means, imported from the Parmenides, and finds that all of them fall short, and generate aporiai, when they are used in the Sophist as the basis for an account, not of the one, as in the Parmenides, but of being, or “what is”. In fact I shall argue in this paper that an entirely coherent reading of the overall challenge to the monists in the Sophist, beginning with the naming argument, or names’ argument, through to the argument about the whole, only emerges if we take account of the arguments of the Parmenides, and three conceptions of what “one” is, taken from that dialogue."
Hoseup, Rhee. 2021. "The Division of Images and the Deception of the Sophist." The Journal of Greco-Roman Studies no. 60:153-167.
Abstract: "This article discusses the division of images (eidōla) presented in Sophist, and explores how the sophist’s verbal deception is made based on this division. In Sophist, the Eleatic Stranger distinguishes between two types of images: likenesses (eikones) and apparitions (phantasmata). If the likeness is an image that actually resembles the original, the apparition is an image that does not actually resemble the original but appears to resemble it. How exactly should this distinction be understood? Cornford’s argument that the distinction between likenesses and apparitions is made according to the ‘degree of reality’ leads to the conclusion that Plato uses the concept of ‘image’ inconsistently. Bluck criticizes Cornford on the grounds that likenesses and apparitions are both related to falsehood as branches of images.
This criticism is reasonable but does not help us to understand the distinction.
According to Notomi, given the metaphysical distinction between reality and appearance, if the likeness is a correct image that truly resembles the original and represents its appearance, then the apparition is an incorrect image that only appears to resemble it by points of view. I basically agree with Notomi’s view, but his interpretation does not accurately reveal the falsehood particular to the apparition, nor does it accurately account for the deception of sophists, other than painters. It is because, according to Notomi’s interpretation, apparitions will appear as likenesses, i.e., they will represent the same appearance as likenesses even in the ‘unbeautiful point of view.’ This, contrary to Notomi’s assertion that the apparition is an incorrect image, seems to allow for the possibility that it can represents ‘true appearances.’
Moreover, unlike painters, the deception of sophists occurs when the original is not well known, and therefore it is difficult for the observer to determine which is a likeness, that is, when he does not know which image represents true appearances. For this reason, I argue that the falsehood particular to the apparition arise on the one hand by accidental resemblance irrelevant of the essence of the original and, on the other hand, by aesthetic and emotional effect. Thus, the sophist’s verbal deception can be achieved by stimulating the emotions of the audience with flashy rhetoric unrelated to the truth, and by imitating the appearance of a wise person in terms of performing discourses. Furthermore, the deception of the sophist can be discriminated into two types, according to the view on the relation between language and Forms."
Cornford, F. M., 1935, Plato’s Theory of Knowledge, London: Routledge and K. Paul.
Notomi, N., 1999, The Unity of Plato’s Sophist: Between the Sophist and the Philosopher, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hülsz, Enrique. 2013. "Plato’s Ionian Muses: Sophist 242d-e." In Plato's Sophist Revisited, edited by Bossi, Beatriz and Robinson, Thomas M., 103-115. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
"The focus of this short paper will be a couple of very famous lines at Sophist 242d–e, which constitute one of the precious few certain references to Heraclitus within the Platonic corpus. It will be well to recall from the outset that there are virtually no full quotations of Heraclitus in Plato’s works, with the possible exception of two consecutive passages in Hippias Maior (289a – b) usually counted as sources for Heraclitus fragments (DK22) B82 and (DK22) B83, which do not qualify as verbatim quotations but are at best mere paraphrases. What looks like the dominant trend in current scholarship concerning Plato’s views on Heraclitus is largely based on the Cratylus and the Theaetetus, which seem to provide a basic sketch for the official image of the Ephesian as the main representative of the Universal flux theory (the famous but apocryphal dictum, πάντα ῥεῖ). In spite of the popularity of this view, surely also based on Aristotle’s authority, if Universal flux is what allegedly defines Heracliteanism, Heraclitus was no Heraclitean." (p. 103, notes omitted)
Ionescu, Cristina. 2013. "Dialectic in Plato's Sophist: Division and the Communion of Kinds " Arethusa no. 46:41-64.
Abstract: "This paper explores the Eleatic Stranger's use of the method of division in the Sophist and attempts to reveal it to be a dialectical method of discovery, not of demonstration, that proceeds tentatively while it ultimately aims to ground its discoveries in the communion of the very great kinds. To illuminate this view, I argue for three main theses: first, that the method of division is a method of discovery, not of demonstration; secondly, that the much discussed passage at Sophist 253d-e is about both the method of division and the communion of kinds; and thirdly, that the method cannot succeed to discover natural articulations of reality as long as it ignores considerations of value."
———. 2020. "Images and Paradigms in Plato’s Sophist and Statesman." Ancient Philosophy no. 40:1-22.
"At the heart of two Platonic dialogues, one of which is the sequel of the other, the Eleatic Stranger draws two distinctions: one between two types of images (είδωλα): είκασια (likenesses) and ϕαντάσματα (appearances), Sophist 234a-236d, and the other between two kinds of paradigms (παραδείγματα): perceptible and verbal paradigms, Statesman 277a-c, 285d-286b. My present aim is to examine the relevance of each of these distinctions in its respective context, and to suggest a way to understand the relation between them." (p. 1)
Isenberg, Meyer W. 1951. "Plato's Sophist and the Five Stages of Knowing." Classical Philology no. 46:201-211.
"in a well known passage in the Seventh Epistle (342 A ff.) Plato describes the five stages (1) which one traverses on the road to the knowledge of what is real. If this epistle was written about 353 B.C., its explanation of Plato's method, whether it is primarily directed to the beginner or the advanced student, (2) should have an intimate connection with the method pursued not only in the early and middle dialogues, but especially in the works of Plato's old age. Since the Sophist is one of the latest dialogues and has been generally considered one of the most difficult it may not be too far from the mark to inquire whether a right understanding of Plato's five stages of knowing in the Seventh Epistle may not be of use in the interpretation of that dialogue. In this way, perhaps, some difficulties which that work has raised may be solved and a more intimate acquaintance made with Plato's dialectical method.
It is, then, the purpose of the present paper to show that the movement of thought in the Sophist follows closely the description of method in the passage of the Seventh Epistle referred to above. All descriptions of method, however, tend to be more simple and more rigid than the actual application of the method itself." (p. 201)
(1) Plato does not use the word "stages." δι' ὃν (342 A 7) should be translated "instruments." But only "name," "discourse," and "image" are instruments.
The term "stages" in the present paper is used in a loose sense to indicate the unfolding of the dialectic.
It has no ontological significance. Various "stages" can only become definite in the context of the Sophist and its interpretation. It is important to note, then, that the various stages listed in this passage do not have even the apparent fixity of the levels of the divided line in the Republic, but are rather extremely fluid terms which flow into one another as the dialectic twists and turns. Note the term διαγωνή (343 E 1).
(2) Harward in his excellent edition of the Epistles states that Plato is "quoting material from some discourse addressed to a single learner, apparently a beginner in philosophy, who has already had a grounding in mathematics" (The Platonic Epistles [Cambridge, 1932], p. 213, n. 95). This may well be the case, but many an advanced student may be benefited by an elementary exposition. The importance of the passage on either count is not diminished.
Jeng, I-Kai. 2017. "Plato’s Sophist on the Goodness of Truth." Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy no. 21:335-349.
Abstract: " “Late” Platonic dialogues are usually characterized as proposing a “scientific” understanding of philosophy, where “neutrality” is seen favorably, and being concerned with the honor of things and/or their utility for humans is considered an attitude that should be overcome through dialectical training. One dialogue that speaks strongly in favor of this reading is the Sophist, in which the stance of neutrality is explicitly endorsed in 227b-c. This paper will propose a reading of the Sophist showing that this common view of late Plato is misleading. It will argue for three things. First, 227b-c, when contextually understood, actually shows the limitation of being neutral. Second, that limitation compels the interlocutors in the rest of the conversation to pursue a non-neutral way of philosophizing about the sophist, contrary to the advice put forward in 227b-c. Finally, the non-neutral definition of the sophist that concludes the dialogue does not signal Plato’s preference for a non-neutral conception of philosophical knowledge either. A careful consideration of the dramatic ending suggests that he has reservations about it no less than he does about a neutral conception. The fact that both these conceptions had limitations perhaps explains why Plato, even in his late years, did not turn to the treatise format but remained within the dialogue: only in this form is it possible to retain both in philosophical logos."
———. 2019. "On the Final Definition of the Sophist: Sophist 265A10–268D5." The Review of Metaphysics no. 72:661-684.
Abstract: "This paper defends the closing definition of the sophist in Plato’s Sophist as a modest success. It first argues that it consistently articulates the sophist’s class structure as someone who resembles someone wise without being in the same class as that being. Then it explains why this structuring principle satisfies the demands of a successful definition as stated in the Sophist 232a1-6, and how the earlier definitions, despite being informative, nevertheless are failures. Since a number of scholars consider the final definition to fail no less than the earlier ones, the paper then turns to address four common objections in the literature. The conclusion briefly discusses how this reading affects our understanding of the method of division (diaeresis) in Plato."
Johnson, Patricia Ann. 1978. "Keyt on ἕτερον in the Sophist." Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 23:151-157.
"In his article, "Plato on Falsity: Sophist 263B,"' David Keyt introduces a crucial question for understanding the definition of false statement given by Plato in the Sophist: What is the relation of flying to Theaetetus (or, to the attributes which belong to Theaetetus)? The response given to this question will amount to an interpretation of the key line, 263B11-13. Keyt mentions five interpretations and argues briefly against each, but the major argument of his paper is devoted to showing that the definition of falsity is vague and therefore defies specific translation. I shall not discuss all of these possible interpretations because my concern here is in defending what Keyt calls the Oxford interpretation. He argues directly against this view as raising serious epistemological problems, but he also challenges it as an interpretation by presenting counter arguments to the two most persuasive reasons for choosing this interpretation over the others. I shall try to respond to the more significant of these challenges." (p. 151)
Jordan, Robert William. 1984. "Plato's Task in the Sophist." The Classical Quarterly no. 34:113-129.
"I shall argue that it is clear that Plato would himself characterize his task in the Sophist as showing τὰ μὴ ὄντα ὡς ἔστιν (258d 5) - that what is notbeing is being.(3)
Problems arise only in the interpretation of Plato's task. We must be guided in our interpretation by the solution Plato offers to his problems. This solution turns firstly on his demonstration of Communion of Kinds, and secondly on his distinction between otherness and opposition. The conclusion Plato draws from his discussion of Communion of Kinds has sometimes been thought to lend support to the view that Plato's task here is that of distinguishing different senses of einai. I shall argue that this view of the passage presents serious problems for the commentator. And this view of Plato's task in the Sophist receives no support at all from Plato's contrast between otherness and opposition. That contrast, however, equally fails to support the other commonly held view of the problems Plato is facing in the Sophist, that Plato is keen to distinguish between the medamos on and the me on. In particular, the analogy Plato draws between 'being' and 'big' presents a major difficulty for this view.
Finally, I shall introduce a new interpretation of Plato's task, via a consideration of his stated intention to commit patricide and refute Parmenides' criticism of the road of enquiry followed by mortals. Once we have seen that Plato promises to refute Parmenides, but does not accomplish this task by distinguishing between different senses or uses of einai, nor yet by a distinction between being in no way and simply not being, only one possibility remains: Plato thinks the refutation of Parmenides achieved if he can show that being (F) is not opposed to notbeing (G). This interpretation of Plato's task is then shown to fit well, both with the puzzles that introduce the central section of the Sophist, and with Plato's resolution of those puzzles by way of his demonstration of Communion of Kinds, and his distinction between otherness and opposition. It is compatible with what Plato says and does in Sophist 241-56; and it accounts well for the nature of Plato's discussion of negation and falsity in the dialogue. (pp. 113-114)
(3) We normally translate to mega as 'what is big'. I consequently translate to on as 'what is being' and to me on as 'what is notbeing', to preserve the parallel in the Greek.
Julia, Pfefferkorn, and Spinelli, Antonino, eds. 2021. Platonic Mimesis Revisited. Sankt Augustin: Academia Verlag.
Contents: 1; Julia Pfefferkorn, Antonino Spinelli: Revisiting Mimesis in Plato: An Introduction 7; Stephen Halliwell: The Shifting Problems of Mimesis in Plato 27; Michael Erler: Performanz und Analyse. Mimesis als Nachmachen – ein Element traditioneller Paideia in Platons früheren Dialogen und seine Analyse in den Nomoi 47; Andrea Capra: Imitatio Socratis from the Theatre of Dionysus to Plato’s Academy 63; Anna Pavani: The Essential Imitation of Names: On Cratylean Mimesis 81; Laura Candiotto: Mimesis and Recollection 103; Elenio Cicchini: Der mimische Charakter. Mimus und Mimesis in der Philosophie Platons 123; Justin Vlasits: Plato on Poetic and Musical Representation 147; Irmgard Männlein-Robert: Mit Blick auf das Göttliche oder Mimesis für Philosophen in Politeia und Nomoi 167; Lidia Palumbo: Mimêsis teorizzata e mimêsis realizzata nel Sofista platonico 193; Michele Abbate: Der Sophist als mimêtês tôn ontôn (Sph. 235a1 f.). Ontologische Implikationen 211; Alexandra V. Alván León: Wolf im Hundepelz: Mimesis als Täuschung in der Kunst des Sophisten 225; Benedikt Strobel: Bild und falsche Meinung in Platons Sophistes 249; Francesco Fronterotta: Generation as μίμησις and κόσμος as μίμημα: Cosmological Model, Productive Function and the Arrangement of the χώρα in Plato’s Timaeus 275; Antonino Spinelli: Mimoumenoi tas tou theou periphoras. Die Mimesis des Kosmos als menschliche Aufgabe im Timaios 291; José Antonio Giménez: Gesetz und Mimesis im Politikos 313; Julia Pfefferkorn: Plato’s Dancing City: Why is Mimetic Choral Dance so Prominent in the Laws? 335; Index Locorum 359–376.
Kahn, Charles H. 1988. "Being in Parmenides and Plato." La Parola del Passato no. 43:237-261.
Reprinted in C. H. Kahn, Essays on Being, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 167-191.
"Despite the silence of Aristotle, there can be little doubt of the importance of Parmenides as an influence on Plato’s thought. If it was the encounter with Socrates that made Plato a philosopher, it was the poem of Parmenides that made him a metaphysician. In the first place it was Parmenides’ distinction between Being and Becoming that provided Plato with the ontological basis for his theory of Forms.
When he decided to submit this theory to searching criticism, he chose as critic no other than Parmenides himself. And when the time came for Socrates to be replaced as principal speaker in the dialogues, Plato introduced as his new spokesman a visitor from Elea. Even in the Timaeus, where the chief speaker is neither Socrates nor the Eleatic Stranger, the exposition takes as its starting point the Parmenidean dichotomy.(1) From the Symposium and Phaedo to the Sophist and Timaeus, the language of Platonic metaphysics is largely the language of Parmenides." (p. 237)
"My aim here has not been to analyze Plato’s use of to be in the formulation of his own ontology, but only to demonstrate how faithfully Parmenidean he is in his progression from an initial, quasi idiomatic use of ἐστι for truth and reality to more philosophically loaded, ‘ontological’ uses of the verb in which existential and predicative functions are combined with connotations of truth, stability, and permanence." (p. 257)
"In the Sophist veridical being is carefully analyzed as ‘saying of what is that it is concerning a subject’ (236b), whereas the problematic concept of not-being is dissolved into distinct negations for falsehood, identity, and predication. A long and laborious effort of analysis was required to bring to light the confusions hidden in Parmenides’ argument. But these confusions infect only the negative concept of what is not. The positive conception of Being emerges unscathed, to dominate the metaphysical tradition of the West for many centuries to come." (p. 258)
(1) Timaeus 27d5: ‘The first distinction to be made is this: what is the Being that is forever and has no becoming, and what is that which is always becoming but never being?’.
———. 2007. "Why is the Sophist a sequel to the Theaetetus?" Phronesis.A Journal for Ancient Philosophy no. 52:33-57.
Abstract: The Theaetetus and the Sophist both stand in the shadow of the Parmenides, to which they refer. I propose to interpret these two dialogues as Plato’s first move in the project of reshaping his metaphysics with the double aim of avoiding problems raised in the Parmenides and applying his general theory to the philosophy of nature. The classical doctrine of Forms is subject to revision, but Plato’s fundamental metaphysics is preserved in the Philebus as well as in the Timaeus. The most important change is the explicit enlargement of the notion of Being to include the nature of things that change.
This reshaping of the metaphysics is prepared in the Theaetetus and Sophist by an analysis of sensory phenomena in the former and, in the latter, a new account of Forms as a network of mutual connections and exclusions. The division of labor between the two dialogues is symbolized by the role of Heraclitus in the former and that of Parmenides in the latter. Theaetetus asks for a discussion of Parmenides as well, but Socrates will not undertake it. For that we need the visitor from Elea. Hence the Theaetetus deals with becoming and flux but not with being; that topic is reserved for Eleatic treatment in the Sophist. But the problems of falsity and Not-Being, formulated in the first dialogue, cannot be resolved without the considerations of truth and Being, reserved for the later dialogue. That is why there must be a sequel to the Theaetetus."
———. 2013. Plato and the Post-Socratic Dialogue: The Return to the Philosophy of Nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chapter 3. Being and Not-Being in the Sophist, pp. 94-130.
"In the Theaetetus Socrates insisted on avoiding the discussion (which Theaetetus had requested) of Parmenides’ doctrine of Being. As the promised sequel to the Theaetetus, the Sophist is designed to fill that gap. A significant change in style suggests that a considerable lapse of time may have occurred between the composition of these two dialogues.
Nevertheless, the reappearance of Theaetetus as interlocutor in the Sophist is a clear reminder of continuity in this project.
It was presumably with these Parmenidean issues in view that Plato chose to replace Socrates as chief speaker with a visitor from Elea. One of Plato’s principal tasks in this dialogue will be to correct Parmenides’ account of Not-Being. The choice of a spokesman from Parmenides’ own school will serve to guarantee an atmosphere of intellectual sympathy for the doctrine to be criticized." (p. 94)
Selected Bibliography on Plato's Sophist in English:
Bibliographies on Plato's Sophist in other languages:
Plato's Cratylus and the Problem of the "Correctness of Names" (under construction)